Here they come: the relatives. And they're hungry too. So where are you going to feed them? Why not one of the new generation of brunches that have been popping up at some very good restaurants lately? Brunch is convivial and fun, not to mention much less expensive than taking the crowd to a full-on dinner.
Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
Playa: Start things off at this smart, casual Latin restaurant from Rivera's John Sedlar with blue corn muffins and dreamy almond butter. Or maybe an order of tortillas florales (with edible flowers) and marmalade. More substantial fare includes duck hash with fingerlings, roasted peppers and an egg or huevos with polenta, lardons and rajas. Eggs benedict is made with Spanish jamón and chipotle bearnaise. But my favorite is the tamale made with cracked corn masa and pulled pork, topped with a sunny-side-up egg. For dessert, I love the goats milk ice cream with cornmeal cookies — or a cocktail from mixologist extraordinaire Julian Cox.
7360 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 933-5300, http://www.playarivera.com. Brunch 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; brunch items, $3 to $14.
A.O.C.: At night, Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne's wine bar pulls in a hungry crowd for lusty small plates — chicken liver crostini, black rice from the wood-burning oven, and well-edited cheeses and charcuterie. The two have recently added a brunch that's just as original as the regular menu. The wood oven turns out baked pain perdu (French toast) with caramelized apples and smoked bacon or frittata with Hook's cheddar and young broccoli dusted with gremolata. You can get chilaquiles, this version made with chorizo verde and queso fresco. If you like it simple, though, go with the soft-scrambled eggs with fontina, crème fraîche and chives, or maybe a hanger steak and eggs with artichoke hash. To drink? Why, tangerine and basil mimosa or cucumber and mint bellini. Or a double espresso.
8022 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, (323) 653-6359, http://www.aocwinebar.com. Brunch 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; brunch items, $4 to $22.
Eva Restaurant: Genial chef-owner Mark Gold is ready to feed the hungry with omelets with roasted shiitake and heirloom tomatoes but quickly gets into heartier stuff — prime steak with eggs, roasted potatoes and salsa verde, or even a grass-fed prime burger with all the fixings. Er, that would be more for a late brunch, no? A bit lighter: eggs, bacon and avocado sandwich on pain de mie. To drink: The bar makes an heirloom tomato spicy Mary. Or if you really sleep in and can't make brunch, consider Sunday family dinner, which starts at 4 p.m.
7458 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 634 0700, http://www.evarestaurantla.com. Brunch 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Brunch items, $6 to $18; two-course brunch menu with bottomless mimosas, $29.
Tasting Kitchen: Like everything else at the Tasting Kitchen in Venice, chef Casey Lane tweaks the brunch menu all the time. Expect to find things like freshly made biscuits and jam, sweet or savory waffles for the chillier weather and a croque madame (basically the monsieur topped with a fried egg). Of course, you can get eggs any which way, a steak, romaine and shrimp tossed in green goddess dressing, and a filling short rib hash with baked egg and ramps. Something for everyone, even chilled seafood platters.
1633 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, (310) 392-6644, http://www.thetastingkitchen.com. Brunch 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; brunch items, $4 to $29.
Pétrossian: At the Paris caviar purveyor's WeHo outpost, brunch can be as simple as perfect scrambled eggs garnished with caviar. The cappuccino is well-made and strong, or eschew the caffeine and ease into the morning with a lavender-scented mimosa. I, however, head straight for the bagel and smoked salmon. Chef Giselle Wellman cuts the bagel thin before toasting and buttering it, then slathering it with cream cheese and loading on thinly sliced smoked salmon. Note too the French toast made with brioche, cut thin, with dulce de leche drizzled over the top instead of maple syrup.
321 N. Robertson Blvd., West Hollywood, (310) 271-6300, http://www.petrossian.com. Brunch 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; brunch items, $14 to $59; prix fixe caviar brunch, $60.
Palihouse Courtyard Brasserie: Brendan Collins of Waterloo & City is back overseeing the menu at this West Hollywood hotel restaurant. And for the last few weeks, he's started serving a weekly traditional two- or three-course Brit brunch. You might start with a British prawn cocktail with brown bread and butter or a roasted tomato soup with cheesy brioche croutons. First up on the mains is a full English breakfast (come hungry), roast beef with Yorkshire pudding and roasted root vegetables or a traditional shepherd's pie studded with peas and carrots. Going on to dessert? Make it the sticky toffee pudding.
8465 Holloway Drive, West Hollywood, (323) 656-4100, http://www.palihouse.com. Brunch noon to 3:30 p.m. Sunday; two-course brunch, $28; three courses, $34.
Short Order: And come January, this brand new burger joint at the Original Farmers Market will be serving up brunch. That would be, first of all, the Benedict burger with fried egg on an English muffin and Marion's heavenly hots in the form of a short stack with real maple syrup.
6333 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, (323) 761-7970, http://www.shortorderla.com. Brunch items, $4 to $12.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun